Strong and Courageous
June 29, 2018
It is a good thing to know that God is the creator and sustainer of both the universe and every living being. It is also good to know that he is the creator and sustainer of covenants with humanity as well. For this session we are going to drill down deeper in our understanding of what a covenant is, how it works and what are the responsibilities and benefits contained in them.
The topic is broad and deep, too deep to cover completely in this format, but we will bring some introductory ideas that I hope you will find fascinating.
To begin with, let’s look to define what a covenant actually means. One definition is that it is a structured relationship between two parties. God has clearly revealed that most of these covenants are to be bilateral agreements stated in contractual language. God has established and structured the fellowship that he has with each of us, by His design. Without covenants, humanity would have no way to garner any knowledge about who God is. God is the initiator and revealer of who He is and what His nature is like.
Let’s look at some examples of covenants found in the Bible. 2 Chronicles 7:14 states if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Here we see that God and mankind arethe two parties in this agreement. If we do A,B,C, then God will do D,E,F. Many of the directives found in the scriptures are described within this construct. The commandments by God are not willy-nilly, they are intended to help us for our own benefit to be in right relationship with both God and other people as well.
The very first covenant was made between God and Adam. We all know the story about the beauty of the Garden of Eden that God established for Adam and Eve to manage and care for. We also know about the grave consequences of their fall and breaking their duties of the covenant. Much of the evil and problems we see today stem from that very first failure on the part of humanity. You see, God always keeps his word, humans unfortunately not so much.
The greatest covenant of all is grace. Jesus came as the 2nd Adam to redeem and make right, all that is wrong in the world.
Every covenant that God has made with humanity over all of history is looking forward in anticipation to this ultimate redemption.
Dr. W. Robert Godfry, church history professor at Westminster Seminary states “Fulfillment of [all of] the previous covenants is actually the kernel of the gospel. Jesus is the second Adam, the head of a new covenant community and a new humanity. He fulfills the condition of perfect, personal obedience. By His death, He bears the wrath of God, so that in Him, sinners might be forgiven and enlivened. All that Jesus did, He did to establish the covenant of grace between God and mankind.” The covenant of Grace, calls us to be responsible in obedience to Christ. The benefits are peace, joy, purpose, protection, and ultimately eternal life. What an amazing privilege we are given to be adopted sons and daughters as part of this covenant relationship!